Even though Gareth Bale can single handedly win matches, Swiss captain Granit Xhaka's effectiveness in containing the Wales midfield might decide the outcome of the match.
Wales will take on Switzerland in the second match of Euro 2020 at the Baku Olympic stadium on Saturday. Wales are heading into the tournament with some off the field concerns, as their manager Ryan Giggs is far away from the national team because of an ongoing trial against him based on assault charges. Meanwhile, caretaker manager Rob Page’s side haven’t managed to score a single goal in their two warm-up games heading into the competition. Whereas, Switzerland are coming into the match on the back of 6 consecutive victories. That includes a 7-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein in their recent international friendly.
Rob Page, who has been in charge of the team for the last seven months hasn’t made too many changes in the squad that was selected in March.
Meanwhile Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who was sidelined with an injury in march is back with the squad. Wales’ best performance in the Euro’s was, reaching the semi-finals in 2016 after defeating the mighty Belgium 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
Switzerland reached the last 16 of the European Championship five years ago but eventually lost to Poland on penalties. Vladimir Petkovic’s side are ranked 13th in the World and have enough firepower in the squad to pull out win against even the best team in the competition.
Both these teams have met eight times before and Rossocrociati have won five times compared to Wales’ two. But in the last meeting Wales won 2-0.
Both sides have match winners in the squad who are capable of performing at the biggest stage . Wales captain Gareth Bale is going to be the most star-valued player among both squads.
Although the Real Madrid player is struggling at the club level, he is still a potent weapon against any opponent in world football. The 31-year-old winger is their all-time top scorer with 33 strikes.
On the other side, attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri and captain Granit Xhaka will be pivotal to Petkovic’s plans. Shaqiri is 7th on the list of all-time top goal scorers for Switzerland.
Page prefers to play with a 3-4-3 formation with Danny Ward likely to occupy the goal. Chris Mephan, Joe Rodon and Ben Davies will form the three man central defence. Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are going to dictate the play from the midfield.
Much will depend on the duo to supply quality balls to the forward. The wing-back position is likely to be occupied by Connor Roberts and Neco Williams.
Meanwhile Harry Wilson, Bale and Daniel James will form the front three. Wilson might play as the false nine with Bale and James pushed out wide.
Petkovic also prefers to play with three at the back. He is likely to deploy a 3-4-1-2 formation with Yann Sommer between the sticks.
Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji and Nico Elvedi at the central defence. Kevin Mbabu and Ricardo Rodriguez will play as the wing-back as both of them are capable of delivering quality crosses.
Xhaka and Remo Freuler will form the strong midfield, Xhaka will be key to the teams quick transition from defence to attack.
Shaqiri is going to provide the creativity up front behind the two target man Haris Stefonovic and Mario Gavranovic.
Switzerland have an upper hand going into the Euro 2020 fixture as they are in form and have no injury concerns, whereas Wales are still trying to find their best performance.
Even though Bale can single handedly win matches for the Dragons he will need support from somewhere in the team. Xhaka’s effectiveness in containing the Wales midfield might decide the outcome of the match.